CHOC Rolls Out the Red Carpet


Friend of CHOC Children’s and OC Family’s lead blogger, Suz Broughton, spent the day with us at the fifth annual Radio Lollipop celebration–right here in our hospital lobby. Our patients and their families were treated to front-row performances by some of the biggest names in entertainment.

Click here for a recap of the day’s events, and see Suz chat with Ryan Seacrest about why he loves CHOC.


A Day in the Life of ‘Dew Rag Donald’

Finished work for the day. On the road again, I arrive at the Associate parking lot. Hike to the CHOC Children’s cafeteria for dinner with my wife and fellow Radio Lollipop volunteer. That’s some good food (really!) Change clothes. Clock in.

“Hey everyone! How was your week? Like your hair! Yahoo! Who brought the cookies?”

Tables to cover, baskets to fill.

“What’s the craft? Who’s the DJ? Who’s the producer? What floor do I have? What’s the song of the night?”

Cue to the music. Lights! Camera! Action!

“You are listening to Radio Lollipop!”

Everyone cheers.

Show badge to security, enter the elevator. Toddlers, children and teens, OH MY!  Kids doing laps around the floor,  IV poles in tow.  Where do we start? Let’s check to see who is in the room.  Boy or girl? What age? Is he or she sleeping? Do we need to gown up?

Knock on the door, “Radio Lollipop. May we come in?” Enter the room. Wash hands.

“Hi, my name is Dew Rag Donald.  Do you know about Radio Lollipop? Tune into channel 36.  Dial 5555 to request your favorite song right from your bed.  Our craft for the night is to make a doggie! And the song for the night is ‘Who let the dogs out.’ Whoa! Cute blanket! That’s my favorite team too!”

Kids: video games, laptops, TV, shy smiles, sad eyes, mixed with big grins. And bandages, tubes, machines.

 “Would you like a stuffed animal?”

Adults: some exhausted on the sofa sleeping, some playing with their child,  some conducting business on their laptops, some looking for non-medical conversation – sports, traffic, weather.

“Do you have any questions? Anything else we can do for you this evening?”

Leave the room. Wash hands. Finished our floor, back to the studio.

“Anyone need help? Can I answer phones? “

“This is Radio Lollipop! What do you want to hear tonight? Oh, you have a joke to tell on the air. SUPER! Great joke!”

Deliver prizes for the song of the night winners.

One of the patients come down to the studio and becomes  the DJ.  Another little girl wants to sing on the air. What a cutie! Family members come in to send messages to their siblings/cousins/friends upstairs.

Sign off, paperwork, file the music away, clean the tables and empty the baskets. End of the night huddle: laughs, news, upcoming events.

Clock out. Homeward bound, tired, feet hurt, emotions up and down, late night. Maybe I’ll take a break next week?

“No way,” says my heart. I love these kids.

“Dew Rag Donald” has been a Radio Lollipop volunteer for a year.  He lives in Irvine with his wife and fellow Radio Lollipop volunteer, “Fancy Nancy,” who is an associate at CHOC Children’s.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

While September marks back to school time, it also highlights another important topic affecting thousands of children every day, nationwide – cancer. This month recognizes Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, aimed at increasing awareness of this critical disease.

As Orange County’s only hospital exclusively committed to the health and well-being of pediatric and adolescent cancer patients, every service and program at CHOC Children’s is devoted to the unique needs of this population. This includes preparing patients for life after cancer as well.

Among one of the biggest issues cancer survivors often face, is fertility preservation. Oncofertility is a relatively new field that studies how cancer treatments affect fertility.

One new option for female patients is ovarian cryopreservation, where doctors remove and freeze one of the ovaries. In the future, the ovary may be re-implanted and then “jump-started” to begin producing eggs again – a procedure that has been successful in older women.

To read more about this cutting-edge study, which CHOC is excited to participate in as part of an ongoing research program with the national Oncofertility Consortium, please click here:

CHOC Using Stem Cells To Study Impact Of Autism

Last year, CHOC Children’s Research Institute received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Grant to generate, investigate, and store neural stem cells derived from skin cells, donated by children with autism. The program is designed to provide an important new tool for studying the impact of autism on the developing brain.

Check out what Philip H. Schwartz, Ph.D., principal investigator on the NIH grant and founding director, National Human Neural Stem Cell Resource at CHOC, has to say about this exciting research:

Q: How unique is this study, and what do we hope to learn from it?
A:  By using easily obtainable skin cells, we can now generate patient-specific brain cells in the laboratory. This allows us to study what is going wrong in the brain of a patient with a genetic disease such as autism without ever having to touch their brain, a huge leap forward if there ever was one!

Only a very few laboratories are doing this and, in fact, the National Institutes of Health is convening a special meeting of scientists, including me, this October to discuss the best ways to move this new and exciting research forward.

Q: What are neural stem cells and how are they obtained?
A:  Neural stem cells are immature brain cells that can divide many, many times and can mature into all the types of brain cells that make up our brains; all the brain cells that make up our entire brain are derived from neural stem cells. We can obtain these cells from the brain itself during surgery or after death or we can derive these cells, using modern technology, from skin rather than the brain.

Q: How will this study benefit patients and families?
A:  Because we can now make brain cells from skin, we can now study brain cells from many patients simultaneously. This will allow us to directly probe what is wrong with these cells and, as a result, come up with new ways to diagnose and treat these very prevalent brain diseases.

Importantly, autism seems to be a class of diseases rather than a single disease and because we can now make patient-specific brain cells from the patient’s own skin, we may be able to tailor therapy to the patient.

CHOC Walk Ambassador

Every year, a special child leads 15,000 CHOC supporters down Main Street, U.S.A. in the Disneyland® Resort in Anaheim California. This remarkable child reminds us of how important CHOC Children’s is to our community. It’s for the children that we walk and it’s for them that CHOC makes miracles and Disney® makes magic!

We are honored to introduce the 2010 CHOC Walk in the Park Ambassador, Alexys Alonzo! To read Alexys’ story, please visit

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